As the weather starts to warm up, our day-to-day activities might change at a moment’s notice. Depending on where you reside, the temperatures may swing a full 20 or 30 degrees in a single week. You have to be prepared, especially if you want to make the most of your precious time. From warm socks to hiking shades to road trip coolers, REI has you covered. To help point you in the right direction, we’ve compiled a guide to the best outdoor gear available this month from the adventure experts at REI.
Smartwool Classic Hike Full Cushion Crew Socks
There’s no understating the importance of quality socks when you’re hiking and working out. But who’s to say they can’t be stylish as well? Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, these Classic Hike Full Cushion Crew Socks from Smartwool have a vintage look and feature an elasticized arch brace for comfort and support. Meanwhile, the merino wool is ZQ-certified so you can feel good about the product you’re wearing.
Herschel Heritage Crossbody Bag
For those who don’t necessarily need a backpack to get them through the day, this Heritage Crossbody Bag from Herschel Supply Co. will be the perfect fit. Stylish and deceptively big, the hands-free sling bag is made of 600D polyester and fits up to 2.6L of gear, including your phone, wallet, and keys, but is also sizable enough to store a smaller first aid kit on hikes or a small gym towel.
The North Face Rolling Sun 7″ Packable Shorts
As the weather begins to warm up, you’ll want to stock up your wardrobe with some lighter options as well. These 7-inch Rolling Sun shorts from The North Face provide UPF 40 protection against the sun when out hiking and FlashDry-equipped fabric for quick drying. Made from a polyester and elastane blend, the fabric is given a dobby texture so it lifts away from your skin to help it dry even faster. Additionally, for days that start out cool but then warm up, you can pack these shorts away easily in your backpack to change into later on.
Lander Boulder Rechargeable Lantern + Power Bank
Gone are the days when you’re forced to settle when it comes to lanterns. Weighing around a pound and a half, this Boulder Rechargeable Lantern from Lander puts out 350 lumens that adjust based on how far you are away from it. You can also charge up to three cellular devices for at least three full cycles and can sync with the accompanying app to set the dimness remotely, along with light alarms.
Gerber StrongArm Serrated Fixed Blade Knife
From combat knives to survival tools, Gerber knows a thing or two about quality knives without driving up the prices in the process. The StrongArm is a serrated fixed blade with a black ceramic-coated blade, a rubberized diamond-textured handle, and a pommel at the bottom in case of emergencies. For added versatility, the knife comes with a modular nylon webbing sheath with removable belt loops and a snap-in MOLLE strap.
Topo Designs Dirt Long-Sleeve Shirt
Not every adventure shirt has to achieve some milestone in toughness. Sometimes you just want to look stylish on your day hikes, and that’s okay too. Topo Designs’ Dirt Long-Sleeve Shirt is your best choice when picking something that can handle strenuous tasks in brisker weather but also serve you well if you don’t have time to change before embarking on the evening’s activities. Made from organic cotton and a dab of spandex for stretch, the button-up is heavy and tough at 20oz but still comfortable enough to last you through the day.
Merrell Speed Solo Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
It’s almost impossible to hit the trails without seeing Merrell boots all over the place. These Speed Solo Mids are as rugged as any pair from the Michigan-based firm but feature a more contemporary design aesthetic compared to the brand’s other outdoor-focused boots. Of course, these hikers come equipped with waterproof suede uppers backed by the iconic M-Select DRY waterproof membrane for any condition you’ll face.
MYSTERY RANCH District 24 Backpack
MYSTERY RANCH’s lineup of top-tier backpacks ranges from military-inspired tactical bags to EDC packs. One of the Montana-based brand’s most casual options, District 24 is a 24L backpack meant to be your everyday pick whether you’re commuting or heading into the hills for the afternoon. Built with recycled nylon CORDURA fabric, the shell sports plenty of pockets and compartments, including a pair of water bottle holders, a top-zip compartment, a large organization pocket in the back, and a main compartment with front-zip access and a 17-inch laptop sleeve.
Julbo Explorer 2.0 Glacier Sunglasses
When it comes to mountaineering, you can never be over-prepared. Julbo has thought of seemingly everything with its Explorer 2.0 Glacier shades, such as anti-fog ventilation, removable side shields, and 360-degree adjustable temples. Built for comfort, the nylon frames are designed for total coverage and won’t pull your hair. Likewise, the nose features a shock-absorbent insert so you can wear your sunglasses all day without ever having to notice them.
YETI Roadie 24 Cooler
Weighing just 13lbs empty and able to hold nearly 20L inside (and tall enough to house a wine bottle vertically), the YETI Roadie 24 Cooler is the perfect option for your upcoming spring road trips or campouts, especially if there are just a few of you to share drinks with. Equipped with a comfortable handle, the updated housing is made from increased polyurethane foam insulation. The feet on the bottom preclude slippage on slicker surfaces and the latches are made to be easily locked and unlocked with one hand.
Scoured: The Best Outdoor Gear from REI for January 2023
For some colder-weather picks, check out our scoured guide on the best outdoor gear from REI for last month.